English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  "Love" get the daily dose of love it deserves. The word is endlessly used today by
singers, songwriters, poets, enthusiatics, hopefuls, and hopeless romantics. The most common
perception of love is in essence any passionate feeling that is express to another person. This is
in fact the actual perception of love, but there are many ways to express it and use it in language.
Dating back to 825 AD, this crusty word has saved the world from famine, war, riot, and bitterness.
There is no doubt in my mind that "love will rein forever more."

On a cold Tuesday, I took time out of my busy schedule to ask5 people to use my word in a sentence,
and give and give me their common perceptions. Jon Lott used the sentence "I love to torture
people" (nice kid!) Conor Tynan said "The love between them could never be altered."
My father said "I love to eat dinner with my family" My sister Jackie told me that she
"...loves her boyfriend." Finally my friend Sonya Douglas said"love is a mystery and
I just don't understand it." 100% of the survey told me that "love" was some
form of adoration, passion, in short strong emotions to another (the most common perception of the
word.) A subject of a separate, George (whose first language was Albanian) said he's known the
word since he was in 1st grade. The full meat of the emotion takes years to understand, but simple
variations of the word itself are universal. Everyone has certain understandings of the word, but
for an official source (no offense to those who took the survey)let's see what the Oxford
English Dictionary says.

If you're one of these people that thinks love was always spelt L-O-V-E, you couldn't be
more wrong. Here are some different variations of "love" since OE(Olde English) was
written;: lufu, lou, loove,luf. luif, and my favorite liuba. I can't wait to tell my family how
much I liuba them. If you thought there were too many variations, well then prepare for the
definitions. OED has given us many variations, versions, and definitions of this beautiful word. The
first definition states love as a noun, it reads' "The disposition or state of feeling
with regard to a person which manifests itself in solicitude for the welfare of an objects, and
usually a delight in his or her presence searching for approval, warm affection, and
attachment." In short that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you are around someone. As a noun,
love is also viewed as an abstract feeling, or personification (For example the British author
Preston states love and hatred as Lords and Master.) The word was used to describe an instance of
affection. Dead uses of the word include the Olde English term of a legal settlement, another dead
use was literally “”silky stuff. As a verb it can be applied as to one falling in love, to show
affection, to be in love, etc. For me the uses of love are not nearly as interesting as the many
different expressions of it. There is love for your brother, erotic love, and pure love, (in Greek
these words are translated as philios, eros, and agape,) there is love for a possession, and even
for a pass time. All of these words have been expressed before words like lufu, before text. Words
are very powerful, and people are constantly moved by them. Love for words began with expressions of
love, and authors have used it to their advantages.

William Shakespeare had much to write about love. In his play Love's Labour's Lost he
writes “My love to thee is sound sans crackel or flaw” In the same play he writes “Run faire love,
strewing her in flowers.” Other famous authors include Rudyard Kipling of The Jungle Book fame who
writes “Do you want to two for Brixam/For what/For love” Voltaire, writer of Candide, says in his
book Morley “They should prove their love of him whom they had not seen, but love of their brothers
whom they had seen” These writers gave us positive connotations of the word, but “love” has been
used negatively. Campbell wrote in Taurine Provinces “The great Lou Provenco... bore a small fortune
between his horns, until he was killed in a love-duel by a younger rival” conveying the message that
love brings little satisfaction. Even Shakespeare wrote of negative love in his play As You Like It
“You have simply misused our sexe for your love prate”

Today in our present age of 2007 ,“love ” is still in frequent use by a number of different people.
In the article Put Some Autumn in Your Step by Alison Maxwell, the fashion designer Michel Fink
exclaims “It's our favorite shoe of the season. We love it paired with everything from shoes to
skirts” In an article about Red Sox player Manny Ramirez entitled Ramirez's Homer Celebration,
Not Joyful For All , Manny says “If someone strikes me out and shows me up, that's part of the
game. I love it. I like to compete. When people strike me out and show me up it's all good.
It's no hard feeling” Susan Wolszczyna of USA Today writes in her review of Elizabeth: The
Golden Age “Actually, it's not unlike the relationship between the love-starved Elizabeth and
the raffish Raleigh as they share intimate talks in stolen moments away from the prying eyes of the
court. And, much like her manipulative monarch, the radiant Blanchett has the kind of presence that
can command if not monopolize a situation if she so wishes.” Did you notice something that linked
all the subjects of the articles together? It is not that they are rich and famous, but rather they
all share a passion for what they do. Love links them together.

“Love” the one word used to describe fashion, baseball, and Cate Blanchett (whom I myself love.)
Looking at it right now, love is not so much a word, but its own language. In countries around the
world love is freely expressed, and known by millions. Although English is a very well known
language, it's not nearly as known as Mandarin. In a few centuries English my be extinct, but
one can be sure that love is here to stay.












Dear Scribe,

As 2008 approaches Prentice Hall Literature Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes: The British
must assemble the newest edition of this book to keep up with changing society. Your
work is epic, exciting, and good as an introduction to literature. However, Prentice Hall has made
the difficult decision of cutting your masterwork Beowulf from its next edition. The fact is
we enjoyed the epic, but other stories we found were more captivating and better suited for the high
school students. We base the rejection of the story on unnecessary fractions, questionable views on
religion, and the fact that most of the story does not meet the maturity level of the upcoming

First, there are far too many unneeded passages in this story. The introduction of Shield Sheafson
down to the line of Hrothgar comes off as filler. You spend nearly three pages describing the line
of a family that we truthfully don’t need to know about. Easily, you could have saved time by merely
telling us “Hrothgar is descended from a long line of nobles, and has built the great hall of
Herot.” You tell us the names of Shield Sheafson, Beow, Herorgar, and Halgar while also giving us a
full biopic of their family line. Never again do we see these names. However the line of history is
not nearly as superfluous as the poems and speeches made in the mead hall. From lines 430-1231 we
hear nothing but speeches. Unferth challenges Beowulf and Beowulf responds (506-406,) poets tell of
kings in days gone by (642-1160,) and Queen Weltheow awards the brave hero (1168-1231.) This drowsy
scene put the story in a very linear, predictable pattern. Another Beowulf’s departure is nearly 200
lines long. Naturally, we here at Prentice Hall cannot site the entire speech; we are far too busy
editing our next edition. These “great speeches” could be omitted and nothing would have been lost.
When the editors read these speeches we were nearly lulled to sleep. They just feel like substance,
as if you were just writing them to fill up empty space on the page. Every one of the editors
believes that if you are to tell a story that you should say it with consistency. Parts of it are
very good, but those ridiculous speeches prevented some great enjoyment.

Second, you views on religion raise some bad questions and challenged some students in many ways.
Although I am not a teacher, I have received many complaints from teachers about the religious
substance of the story. Students have been very confused about the religious things said (many
students complained you contradicted yourself too much.) Critics like J. R. Hulbert agree, Hulbert
says “It [Beowulf] is an extensive non-religious poem…… the author was a Christian…… he owes his
inspiration to the Christian epic” Hulbert could not put it any better. This book has so many mixed
messages, that your religious message is lost. For example, in Line 30 of the epic you say that
“Shield was thriving when his time came, and crossed into the Lord’s keeping” Yet just 20 lines down
you say “No man can tell no wise man in hall or weathered veteran knows for certain who salvaged
that load” You give religious messages and images, yet just a few lines down you give a paganistic
image. Throughout the story Beowulf is portrayed like a messiah claiming “He [the monster] needs no
weapons and fears none. Nor will I” Beowulf is shown as a savior who professes Christian themes;
however he pillages, kills, and is rumored to adulterate with the queen (line 1298.) Also on line
1610 you say “He who wields power over time and tide: He is the true Lord.” Your mixed imagery
confused a large majority of the students. They asked questions, and one was even questioning his
own faith when the story ended. We at Prentice Hall feel it is not our job to raise such questions.
Third, this story doesn’t reach the maturity levels. It both falls short of the level, and says
some things that are above maturity level. One of its opening messages is extremely sexist and
offensive; calling one unnamed woman “a balm in bed for a Swede.” Critic Linda Perkins exclaims “The
story retains a robust violent nature….. and is best suited for older students” There are many
violent images including the ripping of Grendel’s arm “The bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder
snapped muscle, and bone split and broke.” There is also the slaying the slaying of Grendel’s
mother “He caught her in the neck and cut it through broke bones and all.” At one point Beowulf
claims to have “bathed in the blood of his enemies.” Anyone who thought this book was not violent
can’t argue with that line. However even though these issues are possibly offensive, the story it
self does not meet the regular sophomore level. The themes of heroism are dated, the story line is
predictable (the speeches don’t help,) and the characters aren’t developed just glorified again and
again and again. This is one of the only storied the editors and I have seen where there is content
above and below maturity level.

In conclusion the story of Beowulf was a difficult work to cut. This story is beautifully
written, with great scenes, and good vocabulary. It is a true epic, and a great read. However the
pros are not outweighed by the cons, and the editors and I stand by our decisions. If we ever find
another work of yours, we will strongly consider putting it in the edition it falls into. With

Patrick Simas
Editor of Prentice Hall














Crew is a sport of strength, majesty, power, and teamwork. According to the OED, the word has been
with the English language since 1538. According to The Watermen Hall’s website London had it’s first
boat race “The Dogget Coat and Badge Race,” in 1716 on the Thames River, which is now the site for
many regattas. However, since the mid 1800’s crew has not been as favorable with the British people,
who prefer sports like football (our soccer,) rugby, and cricket. Crew is a sport that requires
immense strength, but it does not resort to belligerent tactics, which reflects a very traditional
Britain. The sport’s development showcases how England’s population is straying from tradition and
looking to newer grounds.

According to historians Geoffrey Page and Richard Burnell, crew predates the English language with
races being recorded as early as 1400 B.C. in Egypt. “The Dogget Coat and Badge Race,” has become a
national tradition in England being held for 292 years. Beside the Dogget race, Page and Burnell
also say that the Henley Regatta is a very popular event. The Henley lasts for five days and has
been held on the Thames since 1839. Last years’ winner was the Shawnigan Lake School which is
Canada, who are expected to win again at this year’s regatta. In his book Victorian and Edwardian
Boating from Old Photographs, Neil Wigglesworth tells us that crew quickly became incredibly popular
between the years 1835 and 1851with an estimated 500 races being held in between those years.
Although the rowing population is smaller than what it used to be, fans are still dedicated, and the
regattas are very established in British sporting tradition.

Britain’s more popular rowing events are amateur, collegiate, and Olympic. The Amateur Rowing
Association (ARA) is the main rowing association in the UK and is also the head of all rowing events
occurring at the British Olympics. In the college department the Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC)
and the Cambridge University Rowing Club (CURC) are part of the ARA and very popular on the water.
Notable members of Oxford and Cambridge are coxswain Sue Brown, and rower Matt Smith, respectively.
Brown was the first woman coxswain to win the Boat Race in 1981, and Smith was part of Cambridge’s
2002 boat which won the Boat Race in one of the closest times recorded, two-thirds of a length. The
OUBC’s most famous coach was Dan Topolski who won many championships for Oxford during the 1970’s
and 80’s. Recently, a boat house at Oxford was named after Topolski as a dedication for his
services to the team.

According to the archive of the Olympic Games’ website, rowing became an event 1896. Britain has won
the third most gold metals for crew (with 21 gold, and a total of 46 metals overall.) Stephen
Redgrave, a British rower, received a total of 5 gold metals in 5 consecutive years. Redgrave’s most
recent gold metal came at the 2000 Summer Games is Sydney when he was part of a four with rowers
Matthew Pinset, Tim Foster, and James Cracknell. Redgrve’s appearance at the Sydney Games came as a
shock because at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, he told Kate Noble of Time Magazine "Anyone
sees me go anywhere near a boat again, you have my permission to shoot me." After his victory
in Sydney, Redgrave was knighted in 2001. Regrave and long time rowing partner Matthew Pinsent have
won a combined total of 9 gold medals as well as 10 consecutive World Championships. Pinsent retired
from rowing in 2004, and was knighted at the end of that same year.

The newspapers in England do not have a fair amount to say about the sport, with every major paper
listing it as an “other sport” On March 17th, sport columnist Brian Moore of The Telegraph reported
that Leander was the winner of the Head of the River saying “Leander retained the Head of the River
title yesterday, despite no current Great Britain oarsmen appearing for them or any other club. The
gap between themselves and second-placed crew Imperial opened by four seconds at Hammersmith and was
more than seven seconds by the end. Molesey, who started second and were overtaken by Imperial, were
given a 10-second penalty for the resulting clash.” Moore also reported that day, American Olympic
rower William Greenwood will make his varsity racing debut with Oxford on the 29th. At age 36,
Greenwood will be the oldest rower on the boat. On March 26th, Rachel Quarrell also of The Telegraph
reported the illness of rower Shane O’Mara who will consequently miss the 2008 Boat Race. Quarrell
later goes on to say “Ryan Monaghan, until now the stroke of reserves Goldie, will take his place.”

In the media rowing has been the topic of poems, books, and even music. William Butler Yeats’ poem
The Wicked Old Man is about decisions and it references rowing as a life choice “Whether they take
the upper road Or stay content on the low, Rower bent in his row-boat Or weaver bent at his loom,
Horseman erect upon horseback Or child hid in the womb.” Oxford coach Dan Toploski wrote a book
called True Blue, which described the incident known as the “Oxford Mutiny” in which there was a
large dispute over the American members deserting their Oxford teammates before the 1987 Boat Race.
True Blue later adapted into a film written by Rupert Walters and released in England in1996.
Perhaps rowing is most famous in the media in the English nursery rhyme “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,”
which was written in 1881 by Elphalet Oram Lyte. Since then, the nursery rhyme has spread across the
world and is known in most households.

The future of crew does not look too bright. Although there are still many regattas held in England
today with many universities and amateur leagues competing each year, the popularity of the sport is
clearly dimming. The sport is extremely fierce and competitive, yet not rowdy. These themes of
refined strength reflect a very traditional England, an England of the Victorian era. It may have
reflected the way England used to be, but today’s British population is in search of change. The
abolition of rowing is a revolution, caused by new sports that have caught the eye of the Isles. The
fact that the sport’s popularity is fading shows Britain has moved on, and frankly that’s a good
thing. A society must constantly change, or else it is forgotten. The United Kingdom, a country
founded on tradition itself, has looked for newer things since the Victorian era. Crew can now be
called an old tradition as the population l reflects upon the things that were, and looks to new
horizons for a new England.


















In the world of literature, Britain has had a very special rank among other countries. Although
rather young in comparison to its literary colleagues, British literature is known for the immense
amount of change it has undergone in 1559 years of development. From Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling
the writing style in Britain changed from nobles fascinated by nature in extreme situations, to very
human characters in grand setting that have parallels to the reader’s own world. In general, British
prose has had a greater effect on the world in recent years, while most popular British poetry is
found in song, while drama still has a decent effect on the people. In general no matter what genre,
British authors have relied primarily on five devices when writing a work. These devices are theme,
setting, resolutions, gender, and from.

Over the course of many years, the theme of politics has been very prominent in British literature.
The characters are involved in a political setting against empty headed, and sometimes ruthless
governments. During the course of many works the ideas of the character begin to shift, and in many
cases a rebellion in started. Take for instance J.K. Rowling’s fifth book in the Harry Potter series
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This is Rowling’s most political work to date dealing
with issues of free speech, freedom of the press, rebellion, and propaganda. The character Dolores
Umbridge works for the government and teaches at Hogwarts she even hands out Ministry approved
books. The books are propaganda the Ministry uses to weaken future wizards and gain their own
power. The Ministry then makes Umbridge “The Hogwarts High Inquisitor” because of the Ministry’s
“uneasy feelings about the goings on at Hogwarts.”(247) It is here that we see the government trying
to control the wizard youth by keeping a constant eye on them. George Orwell’s 1984 dealt with the
same topics about the government. “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” this is
the government’s totalitarian phrase used to let the public know who is in charge. In his essay Why
I Write, Orwell said that all subsequent works written around the time of the Spanish Revolution
were “...written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism, and for democratic socialism.” In
one particular scene of the book, Winston Smith is writing the words “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER.” In his
beloved journal when he notices some children pointing fake guns at him and yelling quite
belligerently and says “All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State,
against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over
thirty to be frightened by their own children.”(23-24) Orwell’s piece about a grim totalitarian
country ignited a spark of interest in the futuristic genre, and portrays the effect the government
in domestic life. Screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard has written two plays in the last 6 years
heavily dealing with the political state of pre- Communist, and Communist Europe. In 2002, Stoppard
wrote an epic play three part play called The Coast of Utopia. The 9 hour epic tells the story of
the Russian Revolution just before the strike of Communism.. On referring to the play’s
revolutionary characters Stoppard said “It’s about people who think the future is over there [the
West,] and when they get there they are looking over their shoulders, and they begin to wonder if
they forgot they had their own future at home, but ironically they cannot go home again.” Critic
Ben Brantley has this to say about the show’s fist part, The Coast of Utopia: Voyage “‘Voyage’
pulses with the dizzying, spring-green arrogance and anxiety of a new generation moving as fast as
it can as it tries to forge a future that erases the past……. a work infused with the metabolism that
lets college students talk furiously until dawn about big thoughts they are sure have never been
thought before.” Each character matures emotionally and physically under the ideals of freedom in
pre-Communist Russia. In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien describes the turmoil
in the country of Rohan. Eomer informs Aragorn of Saruman’s hold over the land “Saruman has poisoned
the mind of the king and claimed lordship over these lands. My company are those loyal to Rohan. And
for that, we are banished. The White Wizard is cunning. He walks here and there, they say, as an old
man, hooded and cloaked. And everywhere his spies slip past our nets.”(112) Rohan, a once prosperous
country is now under the hold of a wizard who is bent of domination of Middle Earth, and the
Rhohirrim can do nothing to stop it. John Lennon and The Beatles wrote many political songs during
their career, like the 1968 hit, Revolution. This song was also a transition from a lot of the
psychedelic rock that Lennon and the band had written. Lennon also claims that this song was heavily
influenced due to his relationship with Yoko Ono. In one line Lennon denounces the excessive rioting
in the street saying in the song " You'd better free your mind instead/ But if you go
carrying pictures of chairman Mao/ You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow/ Don't
you know it’s gonna be/ All right,” In this song Lennon renounces Communism, and urges political
rioters to start thinking instead of taking aggressive action. Eric Idle and comedy troupe Monty
Python have had their political sketches as well. In their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail,
Arthur comes across a group of dirt digging peasants who begin to criticize the government. One of
them, named Dennis states “You are fooling yourself we line in a dictatorship!” Becoming angrier at
Arthur he continues “Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for
government!” To which Arthur kicks him and says “Bloody peasants!” Idle makes fun of the less
regarded lower Medieval lower-class by giving the peasants intelligent things to say about the
monarchy. The British use political atmosphere to stir up other themes such as revolution, and to
stir up the mind as well.

In 1559 years of literature, British authors has written very dominant and three dimensional female
characters within their works. Doris Lessing’s novel The Golden Notebook, provoked the feminist
movement, and established Lessing as a successful author. Critic Erica Jong says "What Lessing
did that wee remarkable is she accepted that women had many, many parts to their being." The
story’s protagonist Anna Wulf strives to be equal and Lessing addresses this in the beginning of the
book when Anna says “But humanism stands for the whole person, the whole individual striving to
become as conscious and responsible as possible about everything in the universe.”(36) Lessing made
herself known by describing the thoughts and torments of women, and even by showing their flaws. In
her novel Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen describes her anger against the ignorance that women must
endure. She expresses this with the metaphor of a fictional place Tilney Abey describing it as “It
[the building,] enclosed a large court, and two sides of the quadrangle….. stood forward for
admiration. The remainder was shut off buy knolls of old trees or luxuriant plantations and steep
woody hills rising behind it to give it shelter, were beautiful even in the leafless months of
March.”(24-25) The building is a metaphor for the men, and the beautiful, enclosed part which no one
saw was the women .The word “old” is used to describe the entire manor, showing Austen’s annoyance
with the male hierarchy. Even the story’s protagonist Catherine Morland speaks for feminism when
speaking of literature, when she says “The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences in
every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all, it is very tiresome.” (73)
Austen’s views are so strong that not only do they show in her narration, but in her protagonist as
well. When speaking of author Virgina Woolf’s highly feminist writing style, critic and feminist
Anne E. Fernald said “Virginia Woolf sought to participate in public debate and make a living as a
respected mainstream cultural authority without giving up her feminism or her independence of mind,”
showing readers how strongly Woolf portrayed women before her suicide. Woolf coined the term “public
sphere” to describe to describe the acceptance of anonymous publication, and used its theme in many
of her works including her memoir Eccentrics. Virginia Woof describes her characters as “….not
"having seen any force in the word eccentric as applied to herself, though it would not have
surprised them in the least, could they have woke a century later, to find Temples dedicated to
them," because a hallmark of eccentricity is complete belief in oneself against all pressures
to conform.”(244-245) Fernald adds “These women possess the imaginative freedom Woolf deemed
essential for creativity.” Woolf not only created a new brand of fiction, but her readers were
fully brought into her female characters. Male authors like Peter Shaffer have also written works
which include strong female characters. His wildly popular play Amadeus revolves around Antonio
Salieri and Wolfgang Mozart, but Constanze (Stanzi) Weber, Mozart’s wife is the only sensible
character in the production. Stanzi is focused on living a profitable life and obtaining money to
pay for essential needs, like the rent for the Mozart’s large apartment. In a moment of desperation,
Stanzi applies her husband for the job of court composer of Vienna saying “I come on behalf of my
husband…. He doesn’t know I’m here. We’re desperate, we need this job. He’s not practical, he spends
more than he can earn.” In this one moment of action, Stanzi establishes herself as bold sensible
women, and through the course of the play she always speaks her mind with an aggressive dignity.
This however is not the case for Victorian novelist Charles Dickens whose book Oliver Twist gives
very one-dimensional female characters within the story’s first pages. The background of Oliver’s
mother is described as “… In a certain town, which for many reasons I will refrain from
mentioning….. a child was born on a date which I need not trouble myself to repeat.”(3-4) Dickens
takes no time to flesh out the character at all, and blatantly says that he does not want to trouble
himself with the background of Twist’s mother. Hence, the reader is left with the image of an
unimportant creature, when really Dickens could have brought her strife and toils to life.
Synecdoche and the conceptual metaphor are two forms that many British authors use throughout the
course of their works. Songwriter John Lennon uses synecdoche in the song Blackbird as he writes
“Blackbird fly. Blackbird fly into the light of the dark black night.” He uses the word “blackbird”
to describe the African-Americans that were discriminated during the Civil Rights Movement, and this
song reaches out in support of the gropu during times of turbulence. Tom Stoppard’s screenplay for
the film Shakespeare in Love features the strong minded Viola, who wishes to star in a play during
the Renaissance Viola represents oppressed women who through their own dreams became optimistic in a
world dominated by men. In one particular scene, Viola describes to her nurse her desires of
performing and of falling in love saying “I will have poetry in my life. And love. Love that
overthrows life. I would stay asleep my whole life if I could dream myself into a company of
players.” Viola has legitimate dreams, dreams that women could not fulfill during the Renaissance,
but she represents the yearning and desire to succeed in an oppressive world. The beloved author
C.S. Lewis uses this particular form of metaphor in his series The Chronicles of Narnia. In the
fourth volume Prince Caspian, the character of Aslan represents a very Christ like figure, with the
White Witch being a Satanic character, and the Pevensie children representing the Apostles. Once can
find a great amount of theological synecdoche in the story where Aslan tells a very sad Lucy
Pevensive “Each year you grow, you will find me bigger.”(137) Peter J. Schakel of Publisher’s Weekly
tells us “C.S. Lewis's idea that our conception of God should grow as we grow. As Asian tells
Lucy in the Narnia series' Prince Caspian, "Every year you grow, you will find me
bigger." Each chapter addresses a practical or theological aspect of the Christian life (like
prayer, grace, church and the problem of pain.)” Lewis uses these fantasy worlds, and elaborate
characters to represent something he held very close to his heart, Christianity. Poet A.E. Housman’s
cycle of poems titled A Shropshire Lad deals with morality and the theory that one must live life to
its fullest. Housman gives his readers a message about charity “When I was one and twenty, I heard a
wise man say ‘Give crown and pounds and guineas, but not your hearts away. Give pearls away and
rubies, but keep your fancy free.’ And I am one and twenty-two, and oh ‘tis true ‘tis true.”(72)
The cycle was written in 1896, but it gained popularity during WWI because of its very positive
uplifting theme. During WWI the poem became a representation of how the people should act in these
desperate and unpredictable times of chaos. The metaphor help the reader to connect symbols and
think in an abstract way.

In many of these works, British authors have included lavish upper-class homes in their works. In
1984, George Orwell describes Winston’s observation of O’Brien’s Inner-Party apartment saying “The
richness and spaciousness of everything, the unfamiliar smells of good food and good tobacco, the
white jacket servants hurrying to and fro; everything was intimidating.”(168) This very upper scale
flat is the polar opposite of Winston’s flat in Victory Mansions which contains “vile wind seeping
through the glass doors, swirls of gritty dust,” and poorly produced government released Victory Gin
and Victory Cigarettes. Although Virginia Woolf’s short story The Lady in the Looking Glass: A
Reflection concerns itself with the theme of fleeting materials, there are very large portions of
the story describing the artifacts contained in the house of the wealthy protagonist Isabella Tyson.
At the story’s opening Woolf says “The quiet old country room with its country rugs and stone
chimney pieces, its sunken book cases, and its read and gold lacquer cabinets, was full of strange
nocturnal creatures”(1160) Later in the story the story Woolf writes about Isabella’s true self
stating “She had no thought. She had no friends. She cared for nobody. And as for the letters, they
were all bills,” it is here that Woolf shows us the unimportance of material wealth. In his poem In
My Own Shire, If I Was Sad, A.E Housman describes his beloved home in London as he writes “In my own
shire, if I was sad, homely comforters I had…I heard the beechnut rustle down, and saw the purple
crocus pale/ Flower about the autumn dale/ Or littering far the fields of May/ Lady-smocks
a-bleaching lay, And like a skylit water stood/ The bluebells in the azured wood.”(227) The house is
large, and it is quite obvious the Housman finds serenity within it. Critic Gary Kelly of the
University of Alberta says “Sense and Sensibility brings into play another set of issues that were
prominent in the Revolution debate and the post-Revolutionary quest for reform with renewed social
stability--issues of property, patronage, and gender in the reconstruction of British society.”
While the two Dashwood sisters try to find husbands, John Dashwood praises Col. Delaford’s estate
described as a “low building of modern appearance.” Dashwood loves the building and goes on to say
“His woods!--I have not seen such timber any where in Dorsetshire, as there is now standing in
Delaford Hanger!”(344) The men in the story care very much about the property their daughters will
receive, while the women are all too concerned with happiness and falling in love. In C.S. Lewis’
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children stay at the estate of Professor Digory
Kirk which Lewis describes as “It was a far larger house than she had ever been in before, and the
thought of all those long passages made her feel creepy..”(5-6) The large house, which is daunting
to the children, is a nice contrast to the peaceful woods of Narnia. Each author uses a setting
large enough to bring the reader along with them on a journey.

When it comes to ending a piece of literature, British writer commonly describe the epiphany of one
of the protagonists as to show a culminating conclusion to their journey. At the conclusion of J.K.
Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore tells Harry “Voldemort didn’t realize
that love as powerful as your mothers’ for you was so powerful. To have been loved so deeply, even
though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”(298-299) Harry
learns the importance of those he loves, and the values that will stay with him throughout the rest
of the series. At the conclusion of Amadeus, Peter Shaffer keeps the character of Salieri mentally
deranged until the very last line when Salieri discovers that God is responsible for Mozart’s death

“He killed Mozart, not I. Took him, snatched him away, without pity. He
destroyed His beloved rather than let a mediocrity like me get the smallest share
in his glory. He doesn't care. He denies and nothing either for the man He uses. He broke
Mozart in half when He'd finished with him, and threw him away.
Like an old, worn out flute.”

Shaffer uses this epiphany to represent the insanity and obliviousness of Salieri, As the Hobbits
return home to the Shire in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Frodo
soon realizes that you cannot always make something work. Frodo is still in agony from the
treacherous journey, and he says to himself “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do
you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand. There is no going back. There are some things
that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep. That have taken hold. We set out to save the
Shire, and it has been, but not for me.”(537) Screenwriter Philippa Boyens said “Return of the King
was about death, ultimately Tolkien wanted to write a book that dealt with death after having
endured World War II” Tolkien teaches his readers that even though detah is unexpected we must
accept it, and move on. Perhaps on of the most well known epiphanies in British Literature is the
epiphany Ebeneezer Scroodge is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As he kneels at the feet of the Ghost of
Christmas Future he cries “These events can yet be changed! A life can be made right… Ebenezer
Scrooge! Ooh... Hear me, Spirit, I'm not the man I was! Why show me this if I am past all hope?
Oh! Tell me, tell me that I may sponge away the writing on this cruel stone! Spare me.”(115)
Scroodge realizes that life is about being charitable, and that service to others is the most
important aspect of life.The Monty Python sketch “Happy Valley” written by Eric Idle, contains a
small but significant epiphany within it. King Otto keeps killing possible suitors to his thrown
until his wife tells him “Well there soon won't be any left, thanks to you. Now just you make
sure you make that task nice and easy, otherwise I'll smash your organ.” When the new suitor
finally arrives King Otto, says “You must go tomorrow morning to the highest part of the castle...
You must go, um, go down to the shops and get me twenty Rothmans.” Otto realizes that his daughter
deserves happiness, and he is the only thing that has been preventing her blithe. Each of the
characters’ epiphanies lets the reader enter the mind of the character, the author, and one may even
learn a valuable lesson them self.

Although one may argue that these five devices make British Literature monotonous, one may also
argue that these devices have inspired many writers, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Walt
Whitman to extend their horizons and introduce a new breed of writing to other countries. The
devices used have even inspired readers to discover something new each time they read a book.
Although Contemporary literature may stray away from these devices, they will never be forgotten and
may authors would not be publishing books without inspiration from the muse that is British

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. New York, New York: Penguin Classics, 2003
-----Northanger Abbey. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press,
Boyens, Philippa. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King DVD Featurette The
End of All Things. December 14th 2004.
Brantley, Ben. “Young, Restless, and Russian, Devouring Big Ideas” The New York
Times On the Web May 14,
Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist. New York, New York: Penguin Classics, 2003
------A Christmas Carol. New York, New York: Puffin Books, 1984
Fernald, Anne E. “A Feminist Public Shpere? Virginia Woolf’s Revisions of the
Eighteenth Century” Feminist Studies. Spring 2005 (158-182)
Housman, A.E. “A Shropshire Lad” The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman. New York,
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------“In My Own Shire, If I Was Sad” The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman. New York, New York:
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Idle, Eric. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Internet Movie Script Database. April 10,
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------ “The Kingdom of Happy Valley” Monty Python’s Flying Circus. May 4, 2008
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Alberta< http://www.experts.ualberta.ca/expert.cfm?id=40802>
Lennon, John. “Revolution” Lyrics 007 April 10, 2008
------“Blackbird” Lyrics 007 April, 27 2008
Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook. New York, New York. HarperCollins Publishers.
Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. New
York, New York. HarperCollins Children’s Books
------ The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. New York, New York. HarperCollins Children’s Books

Orwell, George. 1984. London, England: Signet Classic, 1977
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone. New York, New York: Scholastic
Press, 1997
------Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York, New York: Scholastic Press, 2004
Schakel, Peter J. “Narnia and God” Publisher’s Weekly December 14, 2005 (62)
Shaffer, Peter. Amadeus Internet Movie Screenplay Database April 27th 2008
Stoppard, Tom. The Coast of Utopia: Voyage. “Opening Night Interview: The Coast of
Utopia” Broadway.com <http://www.broadway.com/gen/Buzz_Video.aspx?ci=54414>
------Shakespeare in Love. Internet Movie Screenplay Database
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------The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. New York, New York. Houghton Milfin, 2003
Woolf, Virginia. “Eccentricities” The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Vol. 1: 1904-1912 . New
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------“The Lady in the Looking Glass: A Reflection” Prentice Hall Literature. Timeless Voices
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